by Lisa Sorg
Hands off your keyboards, North Carolina Republicans.
First Gov. Pat McCrory responded to a scathing New York Times editorial, published July 9, that criticized the Republican-dominated state legislature for the "grotesque damage" it is wreaking on North Carolina.
Now the N.C. GOP Chairman Claude Pope, a close friend of McCrory, has chimed in, penning open letter to the NYT editorial board.
It begins: "Thank you, New York Times. We southern hillbillies are always honored when the Old Gray Lady’s beacons of intelligence bestow their political wisdom from on high."
And it heads downhill—or is it down hillbilly?—from there.
"Why else would you be so serious about leaving the unemployed stuck in poverty, instead of helping them climb out of it by creating new jobs?" Pope writes.
Could these be the same unemployed people whose benefits were reduced or eliminated thanks to state Republicans?
He cites the state's "horrendous" high school drop out rates. Did Pope see that the rate hit a record low in 2011—2012?
And the double-digit unemployment Pope references was the byproduct of the 2008 Great Recession, during which 19 states, including North Carolina, recorded jobless rates of higher than 10 percent. But by January 2013, before the state GOP could really sink its teeth in, no states—not even the hillbilly Tar Heels—hit that threshold.
Pope rebutted the Times' contention that voter ID laws are being “rushed” through. They "have actually been in the works since January," Pope wrote. Yes, it's taken a long seven months to move one of the most pivotal pieces of legislation that could damage electoral democracy for years, even decades.
And he complained that the Times hasn't endorsed a Republican presidential candidate since Eisenhower in 1956. That means the newspaper did not endorse Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, Bush I and II, John McCain and Mitt Romney, none of whom met the Times' "elite editorial standards."